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A gift from the heart

‘Sawyer’s Heart’ donation offers comfort to others

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:50 a.m. CDT

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NEW LENOX, Ill. — To honor the memory of their son Sawyer, who would have been 3-years-old on June 1, his parents donated gifts to Silver Cross Hospital that will provide comfort to other families who lose a child.

As part of their work with Angels of Hope, Inc., NFP, Erik and Michelle Williams of Channahon recently donated to Silver Cross Hospital memory boxes for parents whose children die just before or after birth.

Also, boxes were donated to families who suffered a late-term miscarriage. The boxes, which include a hand/footprint mold kit, baby blanket, clothing and a bereavement booklet, were given in honor of the Williams’ son, Sawyer, who died 3 years ago when he was just 2 days old from a congenital heart defect, and these are things that they appreciated that were given to them to help cope with their loss.  Thus, this is “Sawyer’s Heart” donation.

Sawyer lived from June 1 to June 3, 2010. He was delivered just seven months into his mother’s pregnancy with a congenital heart defect which caused his blood not to get oxygenated and resulted in Sawyer having organ failure.

On the day they went home, as Michelle Williams waited in her hospital room for her husband to return from their car, she held not her new son, but a memory box.

“I sat in my room with the memory box, his mold, just holding it. I had something in my arms. It’s a priceless gift,” Williams said.

In memory of their son, they organized the area’s first “A Walk To Remember” in October 2010 for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Proceeds went to Angels of Hope, an organization based out of Coal City that helps anyone dealing with the emotional or physical absence of a child.

Since then, they have teamed up with Angels of Hope to do Sawyer’s Heart Project, which creates and gives memory boxes for hospitals to provide to families who suffer pregnancy or infant loss while in the hospital.

What the boxes contain depends on the sex and term of the child. There are boxes for micro preemie, preemie and full-term babies. Micro preemie babies are born between 18 and 24 weeks. Preemies are babies who are born 24 to 36 weeks.

All the boxes contain bereavement literature; copies of the books “When Hello Means Goodbye” and “The Christmas Box,” which are about grieving the loss of a child; foot/hand molds; picture holders; blankets; a small stuffed animal and hand-knitted hats and/or booties.

The micro preemie boxes contain “Angel Wraps,” which are hand-knitted wraps just the size for a micro preemie child. Preemie boxes contain preemie-size clothes and full-term boxes newborn clothes. Some boxes contain disposable cameras.

The majority of the items in the boxes were donated. At least a dozen people, some from other states, hand-knitted the items.

“We truly appreciate the memory box gifts because they offer so much comfort to our patients, said Marilyn Paolella, Director  of Women and Infant Services for Silver Cross Hospital.

About Angels of Hope

Angels of Hope is a non for profit corporation located in Morris, Illinois that was created in August 2005 to serve as beacons of hope for anyone dealing with the emotional or physical absence of a child. For more information on Angels of Hope, visit www.angelsofhopeinc.org. 
About Silver Cross Hospital

Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 9 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Silver Cross opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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